Besides exchanging oranges and receiving red packets during Lunar New Year, families will also gather to “lou hei”, a Cantonese phrase for “tossing up good fortune” over the festive period. This traditional dish is known for having ingredients that carry auspicious meanings such as good luck, prosperity and more. However, some of these ingredients may be loaded with unhealthy levels of fat, sugar and sodium, making the dish unhealthy if not consumed in moderation.
Our Principal Dietitian, Ms Mah Wai Yi shares five tips on how you could enjoy the traditional dish with a healthier twist:
1. Add less plum sauce as it is high in sugar. Replace it with some lime juice or add some fresh fruits for sweetness.
2. Reduce the amount of oil or skip the oil. Oil is high in calories and is not always necessary in the dish. If some oil must be added, use alternatives such as canola oil, sunflower oil or soya oil instead of blended vegetable oil.
3. Replace the preserved vegetables with more fresh shredded vegetables and fruits. Preserved vegetables can be high in salt and sugar content. It can be replaced with fresh vegetables and fruits such as capsicum, lettuce, mango, pomegranate or berries.
4. Replace the fried crackers. Fried crackers have little nutritional value and are high in carbohydrates. If you must add some crunch to the dish, use corn flakes instead.
5. Portion control. Do not over indulge in the dish. Keep to a moderate serving of the dish as you are likely to indulge in other festive dishes during the feast.